MM: Can you introduce your brand and yourself in a few sentences?
My name is Jessica Hu, I am a Chinese fashion designer from Shenzhen China. I started the brand Jessture in New York after graduating from Parsons. The brand is focusing on womenswear for now, but hopefully in the future I will be able to develop lines in menswear, kidswear, and other fashion areas as well.
MM: What sparked your interest in fashion design?
I started sketching, painting, doing a lot of art related activities when I was a kid. For me, design is a type of media that allows me to express and share my thoughts, my feeling, and memorable things that happen in my life. It’s also a process of creating something that can make our life better (either physically or mentally, or both). Since clothing is one of human’s basic needs, fashion design is closely related to our daily life. Design allows me to generate inspirations from daily life, and use them to create new stuff that can make future life better and happier. I enjoy this whole process of taking new ideas and turning them into reality. It brings so much passion, excitement and satisfaction to my life. And that’s the power and glamour of design.
MM: Can you describe your creative process?
When inspiration and ideas come up, I will put them down on my research book or the memo app of my smart phone. They can be images from the internet, magazines, social media, or a couple lines from an article, books, lyrics, poems, or quotes. As well, an emotional encounter whether it is a scene in a movie or a real life experience. It is important for me to record these inspirations when they flash by, even if I am not using them for now, because who knows, maybe they will be useful in the future. I have a couple of sketch books as well. Sometimes I like to sketch down ideas of a whole look or a garment or even some detailed structured elements, collecting them for later use. In addition, I made myself a “style library”. I sketch down as many silhouettes/styles of clothing (only some outlines without details) as possible and collect them in a folder. When I need to think of a new look, I can look over the folder and look for suitable silhouettes/styles for the collection. Once I decide my theme for a new collection, I will go through all the memo, sketches and drafts, look for suitable fabrications and think of the colour scheme as well. Sometimes I need to make some mock-up samples to test and see if the design is workable. Usually I need to go back and forth for several times and make changes of the designs, fabrications and colours. When all the design sketches, materials and colours are fixed, I collect the drafts and notes in my final “collection book”, then make copies and tape them on the wall for reference. A brand new season goes from there then.
MM: Where do you find inspiration in your day-to-day life?
My inspirations come from many different sources. Usually some abstract feelings or emotions from my daily life. I’m quite a sensitive person, I may get different emotions from a book, a song, a movie, a person or even the food I eat.
MM: What kind of questions do you ask yourself when you begin creating a collection?
The theme (what do I want to express), the materials (fabrication), the colours. However, I think the theme is the most important, as it determines the direction of the fabrication and colours.
MM: How did you learn the business of fashion?
Before I started my fashion design study, I had a bachelor’s degree in Economics and I had taken many business courses including marketing, management, accounting, finance and supply chain management as well. When I was at school, I had internships in different fashion companies every semester. My previous business and economics background and my later internship experience in the fashion industry helped me a lot in understanding the business of fashion.
MM: How do you find working as a designer in New York? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?
Life is very rich and varied in New York. New York is a city full of creative and passionate people from all over the world. It’s not hard to get inspired from people around you and from things that happen in the city. And New York is a very diverse and inclusive city. It provides a lot of freedom and space for our talent and creativity. We can meet interesting people from different areas of the world, with very different culture backgrounds, and yet a group of very diverse people can still hang out together and make very good friends. I think as a designer, my aesthetic is somehow built in my personality. The environment affects my personality and preferences, thus my aesthetic may change over time. A good thing about this city is that it affects you without assimilating you. So sometimes my works show a blend mixture of Chinese and Western cultures.
MM: What is your favourite part of being a designer? What drives you to design?
Being able to generate new ideas and turning them into real stuff. Being able to combine my work and life together, so instead of working for a living, I am working for something that brings passion, hope, excitement and satisfaction to my life.
MM: What is the inspiration behind your F/W19 collection which was showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week this season?
The idea of this collection came from the feeling of waking up leisurely in the afternoon of a vacation. The colour inspiration came from Mr. Giorgio Morandi’s art works. I used “Morandi colour” scheme (muted colours), and tone to tone matching so that the looks could show better visual integrity and unification. I chose wool blended/ cotton blended fabrics for majority of the pieces. All these colours and materials combined together trying to deliver a cozy, leisure, easy and relaxing feel for the whole collection. Life is hard. Take it easy.
MM: What is your favourite piece from the new collection?
It is hard to tell. I like them all, they are like my kids. But I did spent more time on designing the outer coats/ jackets. The emphasis is on the outerwear for this collection.
Thank you Jessica for giving us an insight into your creative brand.
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